New Read: Season of Storms

Mid-Autumn felt like the perfect time to pick up another of Susanna Kearsley’s wonderful mystery novels: Season of Storms. Kearsley is one of my favourite authors – I simply love how her writing style is so comforting and familiar for me, like a favourite jumper. Sadly though it has been over a year since I read my last of her novels: Named of the Dragon!

In the early 1900s, in the elegant and isolated villa Il Piacere, Italy, the playwright Galeazzo D’Ascanio is inspired to write his most stunning and original play, for the beautiful, English actress Celia Sands: his love and muse. However the night before she was to take to the stage in the leading role, Celia disappeared. Now, decades later, Alessandro D’Ascanio is preparing to stage his grandfather’s masterpiece, and another young, beautiful English actress, who shares Celia Sands’ name, has agreed to star. Within a theatre in the grounds of Il Piacere, not only will Galeazzo’s play come back to life but so will secrets and ghosts from the past.

Initially, our protagonist the ‘new’ Celia Sands is reluctant to take the job because she has long avoided using her famous name to boost her fledgling career. Instead she has been known as Celia Sullivan so as to make it in her own right; which you can only admire her for. She only agrees when she learns that this is to be her old friend, Rupert’s last directorial role before he retires. Rupert and his partner Brian have been surrogate parents to Celia since she was a small girl, while her glamorous actress mother has flitted from place to place and man to man. They are joined in the production by dashing stage manager Den O’Malley; the famous actress Madeleine Hedrick and the roguish actor Nicholas Rutherford (Madeleine’s lover).

As soon as Celia stepped into the large, decadent and labyrinthine villa Il Piacere, with its impeccable gardens; stunning lake views and its handsome, compelling and compassionate master, Alessandro, I was completely swept away! Even more so when its past secrets start resurfacing and though Celia knows she should let the past go, in the dark, as she dreams, it comes back none the less; as if the first Celia is reaching out to her. Again I think Kearsley has weaved a mystery full of history, theatrical details, stunning settings, and a touch of romance and the supernatural. My only niggle would be the end which was a little anticlimactic, however there is reason for there not being a grand reveal so it really is only a minor niggle.

Overall, I found Season of Storms to be a wonderfully immersive and gripping mystery, that took me away from the cold and wet of the UK. I really must not allow another year to go by before I read more by Kearsley, and there is no excuse to either as I have The Firebird on my to-be-read pile, as well as a new copy of, my favourite, The Rose Garden lined up for a re-read. Great read.

Have you read this? Have you read any of Susanna Kearsley’s other novels?

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril XII – 4/4

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10 thoughts on “New Read: Season of Storms

  1. Still haven’t tried her, though you always make me feel very tempted. Does this one have less of the supernatural element than usual then? That would work better for me, I suspect.

    1. FF, I would say the supernatural elements to this book are much subtler, in some cases they could be just seen as dreams and coincidences, than the previous books I have read by Kearsley. So maybe it would be a good one for you 🙂

  2. Did you read Sophia’s Secret (a.k.a., The Winter Sea)? If not, I recommend reading that one first because one of the subplots in The Firebird has its origin in the former.

    1. Carmen, I haven’t read Sophia’s Secret. I also don’t have a copy of it and I’m not sure I will be able to resist the temptation to read The Firebird while I am waiting to find a copy. Thank you for the warning though 😀

  3. I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by Susanna Kearsley, although this wasn’t one of my favourites as I seem to prefer the ones with time travel and stronger supernatural elements like Mariana and The Rose Garden. The Firebird is great – I’m sure you’ll like it! 🙂

    1. Helen, I would agree that Kearsley’s novels with time travel and stronger supernatural elements are my favourites too, but this did have the Italian setting and theatrical elements which also appeal to me. I am really looking forward to reading The Firebird! 😀

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